Monthly Archives

December 2011

diy, healthy treats, recipes

Peanut Butter & Banana Brulee Brownies

Its pouring rain. I spent my whole weekend being ridiculously productive and working like a maniac. And it’s my best friend’s birthday. So simply put:  it is a baking day here in the Healthy Hipster kitchen.

After spending way more time than I’d like to admit trying to think of just the right recipe for her birthday treat (carrot cake? banana bread? classic chocolate chip cookies?) I was hit by a stroke of pure genius. Why not take her favourite peanut butter, chocolate & banana breakfast smoothie and turn it into a freakin’ BROWNIE?? YES YES YES. 

And no this is not the healthiest recipe I’ll ever post. But we’re talking dessert here. And it is still free of refined sugar, dairy and the eggs can easily be swapped for vegan replacer or flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax: 3 tbsp water/egg). Y’all ready for this?

The “Carly” Brownie
(Aka. Peanut Butter Banana Brulee Brownies)
Inspired by this & this 


  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or earth balance/butter)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or agave/brown sugar)
  • 1/3 cup earth balance or butter 
  • 1/3 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
For the Banana Brulee
  1. Slice bananas and toss together with 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter and 1 tbsp of honey or agave.
  2. Arrange coated banana slices along the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan. Note: You will flip the brownies at the end so the bananas will end up on top!
For the Brownies
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the earth balance, peanut butter, turbinado sugar, molasses, coffee powder, cocoa, almond milk and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl over some simmering water so that everything melts and combines (you can also do this by heating ingredients in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, stirring, heating again, etc. until combined).
  3. Remove mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla and eggs, stirring vigorously. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer.
  4. Spread brownie mix evenly over bananas but don’t worry about making it too pretty, since you will flip them at the end anyways.
  5. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, mine took about 40 minutes.
  6. Allow the brownies to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then FLIP them onto a rack or baking sheet to cool completely before cutting.
  7. Optional: After flipping, return brownies to a hot oven and BROIL for an additional 5 minutes or so until the topping starts to brown and they take on that caramel “brulee” colour.  
The end result is a very dense brownie (not at all cakey) that maintains a crisp chewy bottom because you’ve flipped it. The peanuts and bananas are subtle in flavour, with the dark rich chocolate taking centre stage…which…let’s be honest is pretty much the point of a brownie right? All in all I am very pleased with this experiment and look forward to many more baking adventures throughout the holiday season.
What’s your favourite birthday treat? Are you a birthday cake purist or do you opt for a little adventure?
P.S. How amazing is it that this recipe is coming immediately after my “I love salad” post? What was I just saying about how much I heart balance? Too good.
gettin critical, restaurants, snacks

Salad is Lame: How to make it slightly less so.

The strangest thing happened to me the other night. I was out to dinner with friends and just as our food arrived, two women sitting nearby stopped their conversation and (in all sincerity) complimented my salad. Not the chef. Not the farmers who grew the produce. But me…as if ordering that salad for dinner was some kind of noble act worthy of public praise.

While I laughed it off in the moment to be honest the whole thing made me feel downright icky. Fortunately they then proceeded to compliment me on my dress, which was a thrifted find that I was more than happy to take credit for! 😉

Still, this scenario got me thinking…perhaps it is time to dedicate a post to one of my all time favourite meals: The Salad.

In my experience no matter who you’re talking to ordering a salad is lame. If you’re with a girl: its lame because it looks like diet food and she feels judged so she’s judging you. If you’re with a guy: its lame cause its green and…I dunno I guess dudes hate fibre. BUT I accepted long ago that sometimes the stuff that makes me feel good and happy also happens to be super lame and nerdy. And the things that make me feel like crap (crapst?) like drinking, blowing my money, eating trashy food, not participating in sports/physical activity/anything new or different etc. are always gonna be cooler.

So when I finally made peace with that and put all the criticism/judgement aside I realized that I don’t order salad because I want to “limit my this” or “control my that”….I still want to eat a full and satisfying meal. When it comes right down to it I order a salad because

    I love vegetables

And salads are a very efficient delivery system. Simple as that.

SO after that long winded intro here’s a few tips on how to I make the perfect salad order to keep myself full & fueled while mowing down on rabbit food.

20111203-203919.jpgHarvest salad from The Beet Cafe: mixed greens, shredded beets end carrots, grape tomatoes, roasted organic chicken, seeds and nuts, avocado slices and quinoa topped with citrus cilantro and flax oil dressing

The key is to use the veggies as a base but I always try to include
a protein source (from eggs, chicken, tofu, tempeh, fish, etc.)
healthy fats (from avocado, seeds and nuts, cheese if you enjoy dairy as well as the olive/flax/nut oil in my dressing)
a complex carbohydrate (potato, squash, whole grain bread, cooked grain, chickpeas or other beans)

Nicoise Salad from Boom Breakfast: Mixed greens with tuna, grilled asparagus, sweet potato, olives, topped with a poached egg and balsamic dressing.

Trust me. Keep your veggie quotient high but don’t skimp on these additions and you’ll never be left feeling like you “just” ordered a salad again!


Healthy Hipster Holiday Gift Guide

Can you believe it’s December already? It seems like just yesterday I was lounging around in Trinity Bellwoods Park soaking up vitamin D while drinking illicit homemade sangria out of a coffee thermos perfectly legal non-alcoholic beverages. Oh well, seasons change and with these changes come a whole new set of challenges, opportunities and things to be grateful for.

First on the docket: THE HOLIDAYS!

I’m sure that as December rolls on I am going to get seriously sappy about the Holidays, which for me incorporates Christmas, Hannukah & New Years Eve. I mean my family is insanely cute-dorable and my friends (aka. my friend-family) are the most emotionally available, insightful & irreverantly hilarious people one could ever hope to meet. So yes, things will get mushy once I start to spend more time with the whole gang. BUT in the meantime I am focusing on the more trivial, but still terribly fun, part of the season…the presents.

So, without further ado, I bring you…

The Healthy Hipster Holiday Wish List…

(Or: What to Buy for the Self-Proclaimed Cool Kid Who Claims to Want Nothing)

Holiday Wish List

Yoga Socks
$15 –
A fun yoga accessory that prevents slippin around on your downward dog, even during the sweatiest hot yoga class

Melamine Kitchen Bowls | Crate&Barrel
60 CAD –

Kai Noodle/Soup Bowl | Crate&Barrel
7.95 CAD –
Cute and quirky bowls never disappoint. 

Moleskine Recipe Journal
$14 –
Jot down all your favourite recipe creations in style with this moleskin journal. 

A great intro to flexitarian cooking.

A staple in my kitchen.

Jackie Warner Training DVD
$14 –
When winter hits and you can’t bring yourself to get to the gym, Jackie Warner is definitely the least offensive of all the at-home workout videos I’ve tried. This one is my favourite because it mixes strength training and plyometric cardio, plus if you’ve ever seen her show Work Out you know she has sexual tension with all her female trainers…so it makes watching the video pretty entertaining.

Indie Coffee Passport Toronto
They must have these in other cities also but I can only speak for the Toronto version. $30 for 1 fancy coffee in virtually every independent coffee place in the city. A great deal and a great way to encourage yourself to branch out from your standard shop.

Classic Grey Sweats
Old School Gym Wear. No fail. 


A whole foods take on the classic cane. These are delicious

Bougy trail mixes that incorporate dark chocolate and antioxidant rich dried berries…Yup. 

Pendleton Glacier Mug
Everything pendleton is amazing. This mug also happens to be affordable and adorable. 

Pantone Toothbrush
Healthy Hipsters need healthy gums too! Can someone say stocking stuffer! 

Mason Jars
When in doubt, buy cute mason jars and fill them with homemade soup and add a cute label or just fill with pistachios, pretzels, almonds, dark chocolate, peanuts, etc. Tie with a bow. Obviously the jars are reusable so its the gift that just keeps giving!
Hope you enjoy these tips!
What would you add to the list?